Marketing, like any investment, is not an instant return.
Quality marketing teams can guide you through a plan and explain how results get measured, but you still may be asking why a good marketing strategy takes time.
In this guide, we’ll break down the topic in detail and pull back the curtain on why this is, and what you can expect when ramping up your strategic marketing services.
The Problem: People Want Instant Results
With millions of accounts on social media and ads coming at customers from every direction, the statistics of that one ad being the winner over the rest is low.
Globally, we have become creatures that expect instant results from everything down to our cell phone (which is relaying signals across land and sometimes sea for a connection).
That’s not to say that social media isn’t incredibly effective; it’s just that customers in the current day seek relationships with brands before they buy products.
Relationships often take time to cultivate, and customer brand relationships require interaction and effort on the business’s part.
Why Do Good Marketing Efforts Take Time?
Investing time and money into marketing efforts can make business owners expect immediate results, and trust in a process is a hard sell.
Reasonable marketing efforts take time to build relationships with those who will eventually buy into your brand.
Creating a proper marketing plan for your business and clientele involves research, strategy, consistent engagement, earning trust, and producing quality work at meaningful times.
All of this takes time, and relationships with customers require effort.
Marketing Involves a High Amount of Strategy
An effective marketing strategy to turn people into customers requires understanding the people you are engaging.
Designing a repeatable marketing strategy and pinpointing what aspects of your campaign are the reason you are reaching or losing customers requires taking the time to strategize.
Your message can be lost, and clients may lose interest if your marketing has no guidelines or real purpose.
Strategic planning can also reduce the amount of work done in the long run by outlining the necessities if budget is a constraint.
While marketing is not business development, there are similarities in the fact that both require a tailored strategy in order to be effective.
Brand Awareness Means Consistent Exposure
Marketing to increase how familiar consumers are with a brand or product is called brand awareness.
Building brand awareness starts with consistent exposure for your brand.
Consistent exposure doesn’t mean constant interaction or messaging, but instead regular and dependable messaging.
Brand awareness comes in advertising on any platform and influencer endorsements.
The measure of brand awareness comes from how recognizable and memorable a brand is to the target audience.
Earning Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight.
Trust is earned and not given.
Expecting people to trust that because your brand said something factual is expecting blind faith in the era of misinformation.
Expect to prove to your audience that your claims are factual and the products from your brand are valuable enough to support them.
Without a product that people can trust, no amount of advertising or marketing will save your brand reputation.
Quality Marketing Isn’t Simple.
Big data may be gathering information about everyone with electronics, but that doesn’t mean that marketing is simple.
Interpreting the data available for a brand takes time and specialized knowledge.
Engaging with customers at the correct rate and in the best tone for your brand to produce sales starts with quality.
The quality of your marketing, both visually, verbally, and frequency of communications, conveys a style for the brand.
Cheap and lazy interactions are evident to clients, and missing the mark can turn customers away for good.
Quality vs. Quantity: How Quality Wins Over Quantity Almost Every Time
Quality over quantity is a lesson taught in many aspects of society, and it’s a lesson that deserves attention.
No one likes to sift through a lot of horrible content to find maybe one gem hidden amongst the piles.
The more noise in their face, the more people start to lose their ability to hear when something you say is relevant.
Quality, not quantity, build a loyal fan base because they enjoy your content and stick around for support.
Did you Know?
Outsource marketing through a firm like yorCMO can be a great way to give yourself time to focus on producing high-quality content. Why? Because yorCMO can handle the time-consuming task of developing a strategy, whereas your team can simply execute on that strategy.
Monitoring Campaign Effectiveness is Time-Consuming
Without the assistance of software or program plugins, monitoring campaign effectiveness can be incredibly time-consuming.
Depending on your ad metrics, you might have someone spending unbillable time on whether or not you are reaching your target audience, brand or product awareness, or if customers even care about buying your types of products.
Brand awareness metrics are in addition to the technical information like whether customers viewed the ad and the Click-through-rate (CTR) or the percentage of times your ad gets clicked
Monitoring how clients feel about your ad and how they technically engage with it can require a lot of data interpretation and analysis.
Additional Factors That Impact Marketing
Some factors impact marketing beyond the issues of marketing itself.
At the core, these marketing fundamentals, which include industry variations, competition, budgets, and areas of focus, all impact the strength of your marketing plans.
Different industries have unique clients that utilize various social media or communication platforms.
Marketing agencies are sometimes industry-specific, like real estate, and their method for that industry may not yield the same results for marketing a brewery.
Understanding the proper platform and messaging for the industry can take time, especially if the product or market is new.
If your product or brand has competition, their marketing campaigns may take clients from yours, even if only a little.
A competitor’s unpredictable marketing can impact the results of your marketing efforts.
Competition may also cause a well-planned marketing campaign to appear less effective than expected.
Every project and business has a budget, even if they claim the budget is unlimited.
Some budgets are smaller than others which can impact the time you’ve got to work on research or other aspects of the plan.
Limited budgets require better planning to save on costs and marketing campaigns to be more efficient in executing tasks.
It is crucial to consider your brand or campaign’s short and long-term goals.
Outlining the timeline for a client can help you build your dreams and understand areas of focus.
If new opportunities are the goal, this requires different wording in communications than retaining a customer or serving a niche.
Your plan should respect your focus areas.
Things in Marketing That Take Time
Efficient use of time does not mean instant or faster results.
Many aspects of marketing take time before being effective, and value comes from effective plans, not quick ones.
Understanding Your Audience
No one persona or personality explains all of your audience.
Taking the time to understand the range of motivations and interests can yield higher results for your goals.
Asking yourself three questions about your audience can help you define what they want, how they perceive you, and what you need from them.
What do they want?
Having a product that you think is great does not mean that your audience will agree.
What consumers want should inform your marketing campaign.
Depending on your research methods and understanding of your product, this adds time.
How do they perceive you?
In addition to brand awareness, how consumers perceive you can add time to your marketing efforts.
If the problem with your campaigns is how your potential customers see you and not the product itself, you can focus on managing the brand identity and not the product details.
Without taking the time to analyze perception, you may miss out on an opportunity to save time.
What do you need from them?
Some businesses think that all they need is sales from their clients.
Supporting long-term revenue goals requires engagement and interaction.
What do you need from your potential client?
Understanding Your Objectives
An unclear marketing strategy can leave your brand looking confused and lose sales.
Before you can convince other people to buy into your product or service, you need to understand your objectives.
Why are you using marketing?
If you don’t have an answer for why you are using marketing, you will need to figure that out.
Some people get into marketing because they think it is part of doing business.
The truth of marketing is that it can serve many purposes if done thoughtfully.
What are your business goals?
Marketing plans follow the business goals.
If your business goals have yet to be determined, the marketing strategy may be challenging to develop because you will be setting your business goals simultaneously.
Marketing with a message is more effective than communicating because you think you have to.
What are you trying to achieve?
Setting a clear purpose for your marketing strategy allows you and anyone on the campaign to prioritize their tasks and actions to align with an end goal.
Without this goal, people may spend additional hours seeking clarification or on tasks that turn out to be less than fruitful.
Assembling a Team That Can Execute
The best-laid plans will fail if you don’t have the right team to execute them.
Defining your goals and detailing what to do can become wasted efforts if your team cannot follow through.
Proper execution doesn’t come in a person alone.
Assembling a team that can learn the business, the competition, the industry, the roles, and whatever other unique needs the situation has.
Consistency and putting in the time make a marketing campaign see the finish line.
If a person leaves a team, the entire marketing campaign and strategy go back to square one if everything isn’t super process-oriented.
Life takes people in different directions, and if your crucial marketing team was making it up as they go along, replacements or stand-ins might require more time to learn or create something new.
The Solution: Be Clear and Realistic
The best solution to any plan is to be clear and set realistic goals.
Define what type of marketing you are doing, be clear about the investment and expected returns, and understand marketing as a fluid process that changes with people.
Be Clear About the Type of Marketing You’re Doing
There are different platforms and methods of deploying your marketing strategy.
Elements of the digital landscape such as digital marketing, posting blog articles, and a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign use other ways to reach the intended audience.
Brand awareness can take many forms, including sending product samples to major online influencers or advertising at trade shows.
If you can easily define what type of marketing you plan to do, you can keep your strategy focused and aimed at the right audience.
Be Clear About Your ROI
Being able to explain the return on investment (ROI) for your marketing strategy is part of selling it to the people who control the finances.
How the cost of marketing compares to the money earned requires a clear definition of metrics.
If you have poorly defined metrics for proof of investment return, quality strategies might get canceled and deemed ineffective.
How a person plans their marketing strategy might edit the end goal based on the values of the entity funding it.
Businesses may abandon quality campaigns if the expectations and measurables are not agreed upon before the work begins.
Planning a marketing campaign beyond a budget or expecting a return from one advertisement is not realistic.
Using a marketing map that requires time and experience you do not have on your team means planning beyond your means.
New programs and products need time to learn.
Finding the right voice for your brand can sometimes be a journey.
Marketing is On-Going
Marketing might contain the occasional coupon, but successful campaigns are rarely one and done.
If your business plans are anything but finite, you need to expect to cultivate an ongoing relationship with clients.
Marketing is Every-Changing
Society is far from one thing, and as our experiences happen, our wants, needs, and desires all change.
In recent years, we have all experienced a shift to more online and digital interactions, and new technology may change it again.
Marketing plans need to allow for changes and adaptability to people’s wants and technological advancements.
If social media is no longer a part of everyday life in 20 years, your marketing plans can’t be social media-focused.
How to Measure Marketing Strategy Effectiveness
There is no way to measure the change or effectiveness that an action has on anything without first establishing the goals.
The key performance indicators build the return on investment effectiveness like chapters in a book.
To define business goals, many people deploy the SMART method.
Define Business Goals
The SMART method of defining goals to achieve can apply to all aspects of life, including business.
Coined by Professor George T. Doran in a November 1981 Issue of Management Review, SMART has come to be recognized to guide goal setting.
Define who is involved, what tasks to accomplish, where people will complete the tasks, why they need to be done, which constraints exist, and use straightforward language to do it.
Outline how goals are measured and the method to measure the progress or results.
Ensure that the goals get measured by a standard that can be met and reasonably completed.
Ask yourself if all of the tasks and goals align with your immediate and long-term plans.
Is the goal worth completing, and will it achieve the intended results?
Establishing a timeline with set due dates can establish a hierarchy of tasks and encourage better time management for any campaign or mission.
Work SMARTER, Not Harder
The SMART method faced criticism for the lack of evaluation and feedback opportunities.
Due to this, some critics added an E and R to update SMART to SMARTER.
Take the time to assess whether or not your marketing actions are achieving their intended goals.
Look at the available data and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.
A process that involves getting the decision-makers to review the findings from any evaluation is key to understanding the changes over time.
Reviews can be as frequent as necessary but would typically follow the planned campaign cycle in some format.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the measurements that a company will determine whether or not their marketing investment is worth the return.
The simplest version of a KPI measures the cost of a marketing investment against the revenue profits from that marketing effort.
Return on Investment (ROI), sometimes stylized as marketing return on investment (MROI), demonstrates the marketing action profitability.
If a goal for every marketing email campaign is to encourage three times the cost of the ad, then the cost of each ad and the money earned from each ad will need to be tracked as part of analyzing the ROI.
Measure Against KPIs
There is more to KPIs than whether or not something earned direct money.
KPIs often tracked for digital marketing include:
- Qualified Leads
- Conversion Rates (completed sales)
Check Results Against KPIs
Review your marketing actions against the KPIs and goals at designated intervals.
If it is clear that reaching your desired results has failed, there is no shame in dropping the campaign and changing your focus or direction.
Setting a specific date where the project gets dropped, or the campaign ends if measurable returns are poor is a great way to save time or avoid undesired brand associations.
Planning can feel like nothing is getting done, but the reality is that having a clear, reasonable, and well-thought-out plan will save you time and money.
Even with the best methods, you can’t anticipate every campaign from your competitor or every change in what humans want. Understanding your business goals, your client needs, and setting realistic goals can help you see a significant ROI from your marketing strategy.